Blog

01Nov Wacky Races Is Back – That’s Innovation In Action!

I got some absolutely brilliant news this week! Danielle in our office told me that Wacky Races is back!!!! For you poor, uninitiated (‘uneducated’?) people who don’t know what that is, Wacky Races was the bestest, most fantastic cartoon series ever!

I watched it avidly as a kid sitting on the edge of my seat wondering (and often worrying) who would win the weekly race. Would it be The Ant Hill Mob, The Gruesome Twosome, Professor Pat Pending or Luke And Blubber Bear first over the line? Would Peter Perfect step in to help Penelope Pitstop in her hour of need, and would the evil Dick Dastardly and his mischievous sidekick Mutley stop them all getting over the line (they never did!)? For whatever unexplained reason (well, unexplained to a 10 year old me!), they stopped being broadcast, and until the delights of You Tube were just a distant (happy) memory.

But now they’re back and the kids of today (and adults too!) will be entertained in a ‘fit and proper’ way as we watch to see who can get ahead of the others and be the recipient of that black and white flag – I can’t wait to watch them with my 10 year old mates Christopher, Louis and Henry (or on my own, if they’re not that bothered!)

So, what’s this got to do with business? Well, InnovatiON is the ‘successful exploitation of new ideas’ and it’s 3D Characteristic #7. Our research shows that 3D Businesses establish simple processes for making innovation work and I think Wacky Races return highlights a simple process for innovation that you could apply to your business.

This epic milestone in cartoon history coincided with a meeting I had a with a client when we were discussing customer service. “We always used to send a ‘thank you note’ to our customers when they placed their first order with us.” explained the MD, “Our customers used to love it – they often commented on what a nice touch it was. I’m sure it helped us win more business.”  “Why don’t you do it now?”  I asked. “I don’t know” he replied, “I guess we forgot.”

They’d stopped doing something that was successful and that can happen so easily. As businesses grow and change, they often ‘forget’ things. Unfortunately it’s sometimes those things that made them successful. It’s nobody’s fault. Life moves on, we get ‘busy’ and those great things, like Wacky Races, just slip away into the dim and distant past.

I bet there are some great things in your business that you don’t do anymore.  Things that customers loved for example, or that staff really valued, stuff you did that motivated or inspired them. It’s often those little things that ‘made a difference’, but for whatever reason, you’ve stopped doing them. They’ve simply been ‘forgotten’, and worse, many of your current people never even knew you did it.

Look, I’m not one for harping back to the ‘good old days’ (apart from when it comes to brilliant action packed cartoons), but sometimes it can be useful to revisit some of the ideas and processes that worked well, but you’ve stopped doing. It’s a simple ‘innovation’ process we call ‘Back To The Future’.

Here’s how it works:

1. Revisit

Take time out (get others involved too) and list some of the stuff that you used to do: the things that made customers feel special, helped you win business, made your place fun and special, and made you money!

2. Re-evaluate

What were the benefits? What made it work? Why did you stop? Could it work again? It’s not about blaming people if they don’t do it anymore, it’s about reflecting on why and how it worked and whether it’s worth trying it again.

3. Reinvent

This means looking at what you might need to do to make it work today. Sometimes it might be just ‘doing it again’, ‘modernising’ it or remodelling it to suit your current circumstances or current ‘communication channels’ with customers (on-line?). Find ways to make it relevant today.

4. Re-ignite

It’ about getting others involved. The real danger here is that it’s perceived as ‘when I was a lad, this is how we did it….’ . It’s vital you avoid that! So, work on demonstrating the benefits, why it worked, and how it worked.

5. Re-introduce

What needs to happen for it to become ‘a way of life’ in your business again? Give a named individual responsibility for making it happen. Is there a training need? Set targets and monitor progress. Make sure that the resources are in place to get it working again.

6. Re-establish

Don’t let it become a ‘3 minute wonder’. Monitor progress; champion your champions, namely the people who adopt it and make it work; talk about it regularly and get it on the agenda; make it become a ‘habit’; ensure that you celebrate success when it works well.

Clearly, just looking backwards is no way to run a business. This is simply one process that can help introduce or reintroduce innovation into your business. Try it, it could work for you. Why not do it now? Identify one thing that you used to do personally that ‘worked’. Try getting it working again for you now.

In the words of that nasty baddie, Dick Dastardly….

“DON’T JUST STAND THERE…. DO SOMETHING!”


You can download this simple Assessment Toolkit to see how you and your business ‘measures up’ when it comes to making innovation work.

Just click on the image and you’re off!

And you can watch the trailer to the new Wacky Races here!

Read More

30Oct Andy’s ‘Spooky’ 3D Thoughts 30th October

3D ThoughtsIt’s a Halloween special 3D Thoughts this week with some incredibly spooky insights into Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook from Danny In The Valley, some very scary customer experience statistics that affect us all, but it’s not all ‘tricks’, there’s a lovely ‘treat’ from our friends at Rejuvenated!

As ever, there’s no need to download anything! Just click on the video below, watch and then DO SOMETHING!

Links (click on them to find out more):

If you never want to miss another 3D Thoughts and want to hear other past audio episodes or want to sign up for a little reminder when they’re out, just click here

Read More

30Oct Oooh Spooky! 10 Scary Customer Experience Statistics

Exceeding customer expectations is a key success factor in winning businesses (Creating Delighted and Devoted Customers is Characteristic #3 of The 7 Characteristics Of 3D Businesses) and in this incredibly fast paced changing world it’s getting harder to do!

I don’t want to ‘spook’ you, but I thought you might find these ‘scary’ statistics on customer service, customer expectations and customer experiences useful to prompt you to ‘reflect and review’.

They show that customer expectations are ever increasing, and customer demands are getting higher. Add to this, the fact that customer choice is expanding in a world that is becoming ever more transparent, it means that it’s getting tougher.

So, why not get some pumpkin soup heated up and spend a few minutes ‘reflecting’ on what they mean for you and your business? ‘Review’ how you measure up in these areas and ‘(re)focus’ your business on what you’re going to do as a result!

So, here goes…. Hold on to your broomsticks!

1. Only 8% of consumers don’t read online reviews and 80% of customers trust authentic reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Source: Truthfinder

Questions: What do your online reviews look like? When did you last look?


2. 67% of customers believe their enquiry should be answered in less than 5 minutes.

Source: IMImobile Report

Questions: How speedy is your business? Always?


3. 75% of people now expect a consistent experience wherever they engage with brands – be it through social media, mobile, or even in person.

Source: Salesforce

Questions: Are you ‘consistent’? Through EVERY channel?


4. 64% of  consumers expect companies to interact with them without delay.

Source: Salesforce

Questions: Do you? Every time?


5. 42% of complaining customers expect online brands to respond within 60 minutes.

Source: Edison Research

Questions: 60 minutes – do you meet that? Could you beat that?


6. 56% of global consumers say they have higher expectations for customer service now than they had just one year ago.

Source: Microsoft State of Global Customer Service Report 

Questions: How good an understanding do you have of your customers’ expectations? Are all your team aware too?


7. This number jumps to 68% for 18 – 34-year-olds.

Source: Microsoft State of Global Customer Service Report 

Questions: Got any ‘younger’ customers? Are you ‘geared up’ to handle them?


8. 60% of global consumers have stopped doing business with a company due to a single poor customer service experience.

Source: Microsoft State of Global Customer Service Report 

Questions: How ‘equipped’ are your people to spot this? Are they able to ‘deal’ with it? 


9. For every one customer that complains, there are 26 that don’t!

Source: Groove HQ

Questions: How well do you really know what your customers think? How easy are you to complain to?


10. Company leaders think their customer service is better than it is! Consumers rated customer service 17% lower on average than businesses rated their own success in meeting customer needs.

Source: NICE inContact study via Shep Hyken

Questions: How do you measure up? I mean ‘really’ measure up? How can you find out what your customers really think? Hint: Find out!


Please don’t worry  – It’s not all ‘scary’! In fact, it could be an opportunity. Start working on these things and get ahead of your competitors. Although we can’t offer any ‘magic wands’, here are some nice ‘treats’ to help you do that: FREE e-books to help you deal with some of these things!

Just ‘click’ on the images to download them:

       


Do let us know how you measure up and what you’re going to do to make it all happen!

Read More

23Oct Andy’s 3D Thoughts 23rd October

3D ThoughtsIt’s a special 3D Thoughts this week with a short video to share some lessons I learned from a visit to Raymond Blanc’s Dramatically and Demonstrably Different business Le Manoir aux Quait’Saisons in Oxfordshire  last week. There are lessons in leadership, employee engagement, marketing, customer service and innovation!

As ever, there’s no need to download anything! Just click on the video below, watch and then DO SOMETHING!

This week's 3D iDeas are a bit special as they focus on 7 lessons I learned from a wonderful trip to Raymond Blanc's amazing Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons last week – it was a tough job, but someone had to do it!

Posted by Andy Hanselman on Monday, 23 October 2017

Links (click on them to find out more):

If you never want to miss another 3D Thoughts and want to hear other past audio episodes or want to sign up for a little reminder when they’re out, just click here

Read More

23Oct Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons – 7 Ingredients For 3D Success!

I was very lucky to accompany some clients on a ‘benchmarking’ exercise last week – I went with a group of leaders from the University Of Sheffield UNICUS team to visit the award winning restaurant Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire (Hey, someone had to do it!). WOW – what an experience! As well as an outstanding meal provided through amazing customer service, we got to have a good look ‘behind the scenes’ accompanied by Executive Chef Gary Jones, who gave us a fascinating insight into a truly Dramatically and Demonstrably Different business.

Here are just some of the many lessons we learned…..


Lesson #1: Engage Your People!

Up And Coming Star Lawrence!

3D Characteristic #1 is ‘Get That Vision Thing’ and it’s about having a clear picture of the future that ‘stimulates, excites and inspires’, getting ‘buy-in’ to that vision and ensuring everyone understands their role in making it happen. We met a wide range of people who clearly demonstrated that this exists in this business. From ‘the man himself’ Raymond Blanc who started the business years ago and spoke to us passionately about his ‘vision’ and how he hopes to take the business forward, through to a young man called Lawrence who had originally worked there part time while at school, and having been to college for 3 years, is now a junior member of this winning team with real ambition to grow and develop within it.

Some questions for you…

  • Do you have a clear vision that ‘stimulates, excites and inspires’?
  • Does everyone in your team know what that is?
  • Are they all clear about the role they play in making it happen?

 


Lesson #2: Be Clear About What Differentiates You – And ‘Deliver’!

Brilliant Simplicity!

Establishing aDramatic Differenceis 3D Characteristic #2 and it’s clear these guys work hard on this. Gary talked about being ‘brilliantly simple’ when it comes to their food. He admitted that in the past that they may have tried to be too clever, and they now focus on locally sourced ingredients (much of it from their own beautiful gardens) combined, prepared and cooked exquisitely (and from our experience it was!). This was also supported by a consistently brilliant customer experience, with comments (and actions) from the front of house staff that ‘Demonstrated’ this.

Our research suggests that 3D Businesses focus on the customers they want to work with (we call it ‘Choose ‘Em Or Lose ‘Em!), and Gary explained how a couple of years ago, they consciously put their prices up knowing that they would lose some customers. They did, but they were then able to concentrate on those who were prepared to pay for high quality and this has certainly ‘paid off’!

3 more questions for you…

  • What’s your ‘Dramatic Difference‘?
  • Do you and your team ‘Demonstrate‘ it in everything you do?
  • Are you focusing your efforts on the customers you WANT to work with?

 


Lesson #3: Consistently Great Customer Experiences Are Key!

Our Menu!

We had a wonderfully consistent outstanding experience throughout our visit. Every member of the team was courteous, welcoming and helpful, and it was clear that this didn’t happen by chance. From the systematic and detailed schedules and rotas Gary showed us that ensured that the right people were ‘in place at the right time’, to the attentiveness of those people, the result was inbuilt ‘customer delight’!

The signs that reinforce this were all over the place starting with some lovely messages on the menu:

“Children of any age are not only accepted, they are welcomed. We have a special menu for them.”

and…

“There is no service charges at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and we hope none of our guests will feel obliged to leave a gratuity. However, if you feel  that the service and the meal has been  exceptional and would like to leave a token of  your appreciation, you are very welcome to do so.”

Gary also ‘practised what he preached’ by designing and personally delivering a wonderful ‘extra course’ of slightly sheared scallops which were absolutely delicious – it all added to the ‘customer delight’!

The personalised experience from every single staff member made us feel extremely welcome and never ‘out of place’, which is something I have definitely experienced in other ‘top’ restaurants. Interestingly, we noticed that there were no signs to the loos! There was no need because the staff always helpfully showed you the way if you wanted to go! It’s all about consistency – a key ingredient of 3D Characteristic #3: Create Delighted And Devoted Customers.

Here we go – 3 more questions for you…

  • How do you ‘delight’ your customers?
  • Are all your people encouraged and enabled to do it?
  • How do you create consistency in your approach?

 


Lesson #4: Build On Your Strengths And Maximise Opportunities!

The Cookery School

3D Businesses maximise their relationships by giving the best to, and getting the best from the customers they want! 3D Characteristic #4 is Forget CRM, Think MCR! It’s about Maximising Customer Relationships – not in a pushy way, but providing customers with what they want! Le Manoir has built on its brand and reputation with a wonderful  range of extra ‘offers’ ranging from cookbooks, toiletries, wedding and meeting facilities, cookery courses, gardening courses and some great events.

Here we go – 3 more questions for you…

  • How good are you at ‘maximising’ your customer relationships?
  • What ‘extras’ do you offer your customers?
  • Do they know?

 


Lesson #5: Maximise People Potential!

The whole ‘feel’ of Le Manoir was a positive one and it’s clear that they’ve worked hard on establishing, reinforcing and living a culture that creates real competitive advantage. Our definition of culture is ‘the way we do things around here’ and in 3D Businesses, this is not left to chance (3D Characteristic #5: Create An UBER Culture) Le Manoir have clearly worked hard at establishing a culture that creates a great group of committed, engaged and effective people.

From the signs and noticeboards in the kitchen highlighting ‘success stories’ of current and past employees:

Gary explained that their recruitment process very much focuses on attitudes rather than skills – they want people with a ‘can do’ attitude and their interview processes very much focus on finding people that will ‘fit’ and enhance the culture – he would rather say ‘no’ to some one who wouldn’t fit, even if there was a gap that needed filling.  This was clearly evident in conversations we had with everyone we met regardless of ‘seniority’. Raymond spoke passionately about his team and clearly ‘lived and breathed’ the culture he wants  and it was clear that this permeated every level of the business.

So, 3 more questions for you…

  • How do you ‘maximise’ the performance of your people?
  • How do you reinforce the ‘culture’ you want?
  • Do you live it?

 


Lesson #6: Numbers Count!

Raymond Explaining His Finances!

Raymond and Gary explained to us that the next day was their Board Meeting and it was good to see that they seem to have the same ‘pressures’ as the rest of us when it comes to profitability and growing a business.

The challenges of increasing wage costs and a dropping pound due to Brexit uncertainties, meant that their analysis of the ‘profitability’ about each of their offers has proved very valuable. The result, as mentioned above, has been some things (products, services and customers) being ‘dropped’, and others being proactively developed. Guess what… that’s a key ingredient of 3D Characteristic #6: KeeP In Control!

So, 3 more questions for you…

  • How ‘in control’ are you of your business?
  • Do you understand which products, services and customers deliver your profits?
  • Are your efforts focused accordingly?

 


Lesson #7: Make Innovation Work!

Gary Demonstrates ‘Innovation In Action’!

Like so many businesses, they are in fast moving, competitive world. Gary explained that if they stand still, they will be out of business, so he personally spends a significant amount of his time and energy researching, developing and testing new products (all in line with their ethos he emphasised).

It wasn’t just their ‘products’, it was their systems and processes too! 3D Characteristic #7 is InnovatiON which we describe as ‘the successful exploitation of new ideas’ and there was lots of evidence of this in the way they had proactively developed their production processes. From preparation areas that quickly transformed into sinks and basins, and lighting systems that can be raised up and down depending on how tall you to ensure you are comfortable as you prepare the food, it was all about making improvements in the areas that count.

Last 3 questions for you…

  • How much time do you spend on ‘InnovatiON’ in your business?
  • What systems and processes do you have to make this happen?
  • What are the tangible results?

Think in 3d eBook

FREE 24 PAGE E-BOOK

So, all in all, a fantastic learning experience for all and this was clearly evidenced in the presentations the UNICUS guys gave the next day to highlight this. It was well worth the time and effort (and money!) and leaves me with one last set of questions….

  • Who’s ‘world class’ in your sector?
  • How could you learn from them?
  • What will you do to make it happen?

If you’d like a free E-Book that introduces the 7 Characteristics Of Dramatically and Demonstrably Different Businesses, you can download that by clicking on the image.


If you’d like to buy the book in paperback of Kindle, please click on the image below:

Read More

16Oct Andy’s 3D Thoughts 16th October

3D ThoughtsIt’s 3D Thoughts time and here’s this week’s short video to help you and your business be Dramatically and Demonstrably Different! As ever, there are 3 iDeas in around 3 minutes and they include news of an innovative approach to improving the customer experience from KLM, a ‘rapturous’ response to create customer delight from Mark & Spencer and the benefits of ‘fishing in different ponds’! 

As ever, there’s no need to download anything! Just click on the video below, watch and then DO SOMETHING!

Here are this week's 3D Thoughts – 3 ideas to help you improve your customer experience and your connectivity – feel free to watch and share!

Posted by Andy Hanselman on Monday, 16 October 2017

Links (click on them to find out more):

If you never want to miss another 3D Thoughts and want to hear other past audio episodes or want to sign up for a little reminder when they’re out, just click here

Read More